Tuesday, November 15
Matthew 22:34-40 NRSV
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Jesus, God’s final Word to man, made love the final thing in character. When a scribe asked Jesus: “Which commandment is the first of all?” the ages and all heaven must have bent over to listen to His reply, for His answer would fix in the mind of all humanity the chief quality in character. A misstep here, and all the ages would go wrong with Him, and go wrong in the most important thing in living—the main emphasis in character. But Jesus did not go wrong. He unerringly picked out two commandments from among the thirty-six hundred which the Jewish law prescribed for conduct, and those two emphasize the same thing: “Thou shalt love” (KJV) Suppose he had picked out some good thing instead of the best thing; for instance: “Thou shalt be just,” “Thou shalt be merciful,” “Thou shalt be kind.” Suppose he had chosen any good thing instead of this highest thing. Then the history of humanity would have been different, and humanity itself would have been impoverished. He sounded a clarion note, “Thou shalt love,” and all the ages, whether they have obeyed it or not, have echoed a deep “Amen.”
E. Stanley Jones, Is the Kingdom of God Realism?